Bernie Bros, The Moderate Vote, and A Waiter in the West Village

I don’t care about football.

I usually watch the Super Bowl every year, because of the parties, the fun munchies, and the commercials. Everything else is a big snore for me. So, last night, I skipped the whole thing and went out with a couple of girlfriends to grab drinks and dinner in the New York City.

We were ensconced in a bar in the West Village eating super salty fries and drinking pitchers of beer along with the 20-year olds, when the conversation turned to the election. Who were we going to vote for in the primary?

One friend said her vote was for Warren or Bernie. The other friend said, anybody but Bernie. I said, anybody who has the best chance of beating Trump. I said that if the polls tell me that Biden has the best chance, I’ll vote for him. I’m, in a sense, a single issue voter right.

So, we were fighting it out about who had the best chance, who would carry the youth vote, and did the youth vote matter (no), when our waiter demanded to know what we were fighting about. I said, “politics”. He said, “move over. I want to hear this.” So, I pushed our coats away and gave him a seat.

He was a 30-something, probably gay, mixed race guy. He said that he didn’t like Bernie. While he was very in favor of gay rights, he was a libertarian about a lot of things. He thought that people should be able to carry guns, as long as they followed certain rules. He also said that 70 percent of his friends weren’t going to vote at all.

When he got up, I didn’t say, “I told you so.” But I was thinking it.

At this point, I think people are either going to vote for Trump or they won’t. I can’t imagine there is a single person in the country, who hasn’t made that decision. There are a whole lot of people, who may or may not show up to vote. And that’s the real election now.

The Democrats have to put someone forward who will get their people to the polls, but won’t annoy weak Republicans so much so that they decide to show up and vote for Trump.

There is definitely a “silly season” in every primary, where the media doesn’t feel that it’s totally necessary to back the serious candidate. That’s why Trump got as far as he did. The media let him go unchecked through silly season, until it was too late.

Is the same thing happening now? Mayor Pete is really too young to be a serious candidate. Bernie may actually be a terrible candidate, as Hillary hinted last week. (I think her comment wasn’t off-the-cuff, but was a calculated attempt by Democrat leaders to take Bernie out.) Biden is doing really well with minority voters.

Then the waiter came back again and told me that I looked just like the landlady on the Kimmie Schmidt show. After a little googling on our phones, we realized that he meant Carol Kane. Apparently, I look like a crazy old lady, with big eyes and wild hair, so take this waiter’s comments with a grain of salt.

Electrician Gossip: Excerpt From the Newsletter January 30, 2020

Here’s an excerpt from the latest newsletter. Don’t forget to subscribe!

January 31, 2020

Hi all!

We’re in the midst of some minor home renovations. Two rooms that remained pretty much untouched since we moved in — our bedroom and office — are getting some love. Nothing fancy, because a bigger job is on the horizon. Just a little paint, some rearranging, and new lighting. 

The electricians were here all morning putting in overhead lights in our dimly lit office. When they were on the way out, I grilled them about business, because I’m nosy like that. I am super interested in jobs that don’t involve college, both because it’s a good topic to write about and because my kid, Ian, may or may not be able to hack traditional college, even one that has supports for kids like him. 

So, the guys told me that business is great. They were slammed by the recession in 2008 and had to cut their workforce in half, but that things have picked up again. Lots of people are doing construction on their homes and renovating their dimly lit office space, so the work is there.  

I asked them if they are hiring new workers. They said that they would, but that “kids today don’t want to do physical labor. They just want to play on their cellphones.” It’s hard for them to find workers. 

I asked them about schooling. Did they recommend a particular program or trade school? Nah, they told me. They teach people on the job how to do things. The old guy said that he went to college, but didn’t want to work in an office, so he became an electrician. He didn’t need his college education for the job. The young guy said he went straight from high school to the job. 

I asked them if the guys who came from trade school were particularly good. They told me that those programs weren’t very helpful, because the best way to learn how to do a job like theirs isn’t from a textbook, but by experience. 

I couldn’t exactly ask them if their job paid well, but the old guy mentioned that he lived locally. So, he’s making enough to afford the high home and taxes in this area. The young guy said he lived out in western Jersey, where houses in the woods are plentiful and relatively affordable. The old guy said that the good thing about being an electrician is that “you can work as much as you like.” He works for this big electric company during the day and then works for a buddy in the evening. That evening work is probably off-the-books, so that means that extra income never shows up on salary scales.

I’m going to continue my annoying questions of workers and owners of businesses. College isn’t for everyone, and parents like me are looking for answers. 

If you want more on this topic, we talked on the blog about a friend who is sending her honors student son to automotive school next year. Also, I wrote about a girl, who decided to go to a trade school, after college last year. 

Thanks for reading! Laura

Weekend Mode (not quite, almost there)

After I write this week’s newsletter, I’m going into weekend mode. What’s weekend mode?

Every Friday, I knock off work early and do some girlie stuff before Ian gets home. My nails are a train wreck at the moment, for example, and need attention from a professional. Gotta pick up chair cushions from Calico, drop off some books at the post office, and work on some photography. And then I’ll start working on some weekend projects and finalize dinner plans with friends.

We’ve been slowly upgrading our bedroom and the office. The bedroom was painted by professionals last week, after we admitted to ourselves that we couldn’t finish the job before April on our own. In the meantime, I’ve slowly been restocking the bookcases and screwing in switch plates. More pictures when it’s officially done.

We’re making the office into a more of an official work place, and not the red-headed stepchild of a room. Wallpaper is off, and lighting installed.

Looking over my pictures from my cellphone, we spend quite a lot of time eating. This is why I need to drop ten pounds, I think. Tonight, we’re chilling out. We’ll be going to a local Persian place with friends on Saturday night, after dumping Ian at the grandparents’ house. On Sunday, we’re splitting up – Steve and Ian are going to a Super Bowl party, while I’m meeting up with friends in New York City.

What your weekend mode?

If I Meant Well, It's Okay

I’ve been juggling a couple of work projects and home projects this week. As I write this, there are a couple of electricians in our office downstairs installing some lovely inset lighting. And while all that goes on, the impeachment trial is on CNN in the background.

Steve’s theory — and it’s a good one, I think — is that all these speeches are not really for the Senate or the impeachment itself. There is pretty much zero chance that Democrats will have enough votes for a conviction, barring some unforeseen bombshell. So, why all this effort? It could bite Democrats in the ass, if it pushes borderline Republicans to the voting booths in November.

Steve thinks this is all about history. These speeches are going to go down in the books in part because of the Grade A oratory skills of people like Adam Schiff. And also because this president is going to do something even worse in the future, and Democrats want to point to this record as evidence that they did their best to stop him. They’re also forcing Republicans and their henchmen to go on the record with mind-blowing, insane arguments that demonstrate their insincerity and corruption.

Case in point, Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz made the argument that quid pro quo is impeachable, if a president does it for personal gain like to build a hotel. But quid pro quo happens all the time in normal international affairs, if a president does it for the national good. But what happens when, a president does it to get reelected? Dershowitz argued that since a president considers it in the national good for himself to be reelected, as any politician believes, so therefore it is not impeachable.

The Daily had a nice rundown of his argument. More here.

So, if I rob a liquor store, because I believe the liquor store has too much money and that I would use their money to give to orphans and babies, then no crime would be committed.

Have you been watching the impeachment? What do you think?

SL 682

Is “A Trillion Trees” a bad idea?

I’m rearranging bedroom furniture at the moment, so I’ve been reading “5 tips for rug placement.”

I loved this article, ” When the Prince of Wales is Your Landlord.

Could you manage all the paperwork of being poor person? How about all the paperwork for poor people with special needs kids?

About the first transport of women to Auschwitz.

(Pictures from a trip to NYC a few weeks ago. Pizzeria Uno and The New York Historical Society. If you’re close to NYC, the Tiffany Lamp exhibit was amazing.)

Bypassing College

I managed to check off my entire list of work chores before 10:00am. Somedays, things go faster than others. So, what does that mean? Lots of time wasting on twitter and blogs today! Woot! First, let me tell you a story.

Steve and I went out for dinner with friends last Saturday night. Because our kids are all around the same age, we talked about colleges. One couple had decided to go the traditional route for their kids and was spending serious cash on a private college and an out-of-state college. That family will be paying back loans for thirty years.

The other couple of double lawyers was sending their Uber-smart son to the engineering program at an in-state college. The second son had decided that he didn’t want to go to college at all. The kid is also smart and in honors classes with a good GPA, but he just had no interest in higher education. He wants to go to automotive school. He just loves cars and that’s it.

So, the parents did the research, and they’re sending him to a for-profit automotive school, where he’ll commute from home. He’ll be done in two years and do what he loves most, which is to tinker with car engines.

Apparently being a car mechanic these days isn’t just lug nuts and oil changes. It’s very technical. It requires a lot of comfort with computers and high-end machinery. Car dealerships are having a hard time finding people with that sort of knowledge, so they are offering nice salaries and benefit packages.

When blue collar jobs become white collar jobs.

Middle class parents are slowly getting more savvy about these options. I expect to see more of this in the future. Are there downsides?

Brains

When Ian had the 48-hour EEG, they found that he was having one-second seizures every two hours. They were so small that there were unnoticeable to observers. He doesn’t even blink when they happen. Those little seizures have to be treated with medication, because without treatment, they start adding up to bigger ones, like happened in November. 

The concern was that his seizures were happening on both sides of the brain. Most people with epilepsy tend to get them on one side or the other. So, that’s why the neurologist ordered the brain MRI and was worried. 

Epilepsy is a very common problem for people with autism. Something like 30-50 percent of people with autism, also end up with epilepsy down the road. It’s a genetic thing. Just the same, it was necessary to rule out a physical issue, since his EEG readings were so unusual. 

It took four days to get the results, in which time I imagined the worst. I didn’t want to be blindsided like I was last month with the epilepsy diagnosis. I wanted to imagine the worst, make peace with it, before walking into the doctor’s office. 

He’s fine.

I feel like I’ve had a seizure. My brain is wiped clean. I haven’t even been answering email this week. I’ll be back on Monday. I’m working on article today and that’s about all I can handle.

The pain and stress that parents of truly sick kids have to manage is unthinkable. My thoughts are with them this morning. 

Hug (or call) a loved one today.